Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Final quilt of 2014

I quilted this several days ago before the machine started giving me troubles.  It's a nice way to end the year.  This is a Quilt of Valor.  I encourage you to get involved with this great program and to make a quilt, block or quilt top.  If you'd like to send a quilt top to me, I'd be happy to get it finished and donated to my local QOV program.  Just contact me.

Happy New Year.

Happy New Year

From my family to yours!  May your new year be filled with blessings and joy.

Monday, December 29, 2014

nothing more frustrating

So, the machine isn't working again.  There is nothing more frustrating than having two weeks of vacation time and not being able to quilt.  I guess I could sit an think of more frustrating things, but at the moment, it's hard to come up with them.  The cable above is the one I think I need, but the one below is the one I was told to order.
When I got it and plugged it in, the machine will follow the design on the robot, but it won't stitch.  It isn't talking to the stitching part of the machine.  I guess I could stitch manually, but that kind of defeats the purpose of a robotic quilting machine :)  I'm just so spoiled!  I also have my secondary machine, Pierce that I did quilt over 1,000 quilts on which I haven't touched in many months and I'm sure he would like a turn at quilting again.  I ordered the other cable this morning, but the company has on their website they are on vacation this week, so it looks like they won't have it to me before I go back to work next week.

Unless I decide to stitch by hand (well, actually run the machine while standing there) or use the other machine, I am not going to reach my goal.  I'm going to have to do some number crunching today and see how close I am to a big number for quilts for the year and see just what I want to do.  With my daughters home, it's hard to find time to sneak away.  I just want to spend every minute I can with them.  It is so amazing having them home to cook and go shopping with.  I didn't realize how much I missed having them around!  

As the year winds down, I start to think of goals for the new year and look back on the things I've accomplished this past year.  The quiet time in the morning is especially nice for reflecting before everyone else is awake and asking for attention.

Kitchen Towel Christmas Presents

Here's where I purchased these kitchen towels I embroidered on for Christmas presents this year.  I have recently fallen in love with Redwork on my embroidery machine and ordered a couple of different designs.  My son works at the Western Railway Museum and I made these for his bosses as presents.  I love that they stitch up in about five minutes each and are cute when finished.  I am hoping I can find some fabric so I can make my own towels, but if not, it's really nice to throw a finished towel on the machine and in five minutes have a finished present ready to gift.  You can customize them for each recipient with whatever design you want and there are a lot of free embroidery designs out there on the internet.  Who doesn't need a new kitchen towel?  Plus, these come with a hanging hoop too.  Super cute!

The museum had a big party on Saturday for New Year's, celebrating 1943 (not exactly sure the significance of that year) and there was a huge crowd.  They had games and puzzles and cake and a countdown to the 'New Year' at noon with ringing of the train bells (my son got to do that part) and it was pretty wild for a bunch of old timers.  My son had a blast playing jacks with the little kids and helping them put the puzzle together.  He is an old soul in a young body and really gets along best with little kids or much older people.  we had to head out there to bring him his jacket.  He was working outside in the car barn all day and it was COLD.  The girls and I spent the day Thrift Store Shopping, our favorite thing  to do.  We found lots of great treasures at 50% off and had a great time together.  I miss having them around during the year.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Take 5

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I need to pick up the pace if I'm going to make it to 45 by the end of the year.  How is it time is ticking by so quickly?  It doesn't go this fast when I'm working that's for sure.  Here's one of my favorite patterns, the Take 5 die from Accuquilt.  It's an 8 1/2 inch square, 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch rectangle and 3, 4 1/2 inch squares all sewn into a block then you can make the quilt as big or small as you want.  It's great for scraps, or you can see here, we used 3 colors for this quilt and it still looks great.  It was designed to be used with 5 fabrics, but more or less is fine too.  Super fast to cut out and super fast to sew together.  Our Binky Patrol group makes  lot of these quilts in all sizes.

I don't understand girls who like football.

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Is that horribly sexist of me?  My son's girlfriend's mom LOVES the 49ers, a local football team. I just don't get it.  I mean, guys running around chasing after an egg shaped ball for a couple of hours just doesn't hold any interest for me, but then I can't sit and watch golf without falling asleep or baseball without getting up after five minutes to get a snack either.  My dad was never into sports so I guess it never got ingrained in me that you should sit on the couch all day Sunday afternoon watching things like that.

But when my son came home and asked me to make an apron for his girlfriend's mom, I jumped at the chance to make another quilt.  Oh, wait, you said apron?  Well, I don't sew clothing items, surely she would love a quilt much better right?  Sitting on the couch all day gets cold.  So, I started making this quilt and then he asked me again for the apron, saying that's what she really wanted.  But, I had already started the quilt after spending more than $50 on the fabric for it.  There was no way I was just going to let this one become a UFO (unfinished object).

So, I got the sheet at Target and finished it today, only a day late for Christmas.  I hope she likes it as I am rather pleased with it.  Even though I don't have any feelings one way or the other towards the team, I do like the colors and would keep it for myself if she felt strongly that she didn't want a quilt :)  I do have another friend who is also strangely in love with this team and even goes to games.  I could think of several things I'd rather do with my time, like poke my eye out with a sharp stick, but to each his own.

As long as I can keep making beautiful quilts and giving them away, I'm a happy girl.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The things I do

So my son comes home two days ago and says his girlfriend's mom wants a 49ers apron for Christmas and she can't find one anywhere. Could I please make her one?

So we went out and got some fabric.  I'm not a clothing maker, I'm a quilt maker, so I started making her a quilt yesterday.  I'm almost finished with the quilt top and he came home from her house and helped me work on it, but said she really, really wanted an apron, not a quilt. Who would choose an apron over a quilt?

She's a home ec teacher at the local middle school so it makes sense she would love an apron.

It took me about an hour to make and was pretty simple, but now I have a quilt to finish.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Machine is fixed, back in business

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So I found an extra cord that came with my machine when I got it  and although the wires are different, they did the trick.  They plug into a different part of the machine, but they still plug into the encoders and my machine is back up and running again.  How lucky am I to have those extra wires?  I did order a new set of wires and now I'm set for the next accident.

I was asked why I had to change out the tracks and the original tracks had become so pitted.  This is the second time I've changed the tracks on the carriage and the first time for the frame since I got the machine 19 months ago.  When I called and talked to the Grace company, I asked them if this was normal.  The lady said that if the frame isn't perfectly level, it can cause grinding and pitting of the tracks.  Since I have my machine on carpet, there is no way to have it perfectly level.  I'm thinking that maybe if I had it on a metal or wood frame on top of the carpet, I might have a better chance of having it level, but even then I'm not sure.  When the machine moves across the track it compresses the carpet and makes the frame uneven and then has to work harder to go across the track and I guess causes some rubbing on different parts of the track.  I try to remember to wipe down the track in between each quilt because the dust on the track can cause pitting too.  The quilting is so smooth now.  It was getting so wobbly that the lines weren't straight and the circles weren't round.

I'm so happy to be quilting again!  Especially with my time off.

A lovely walk

 Since my quilting machine is broken, I have more time for other things.  I'm learning to be patient, which is a hard lesson for me.  My son went in to the robotics room yesterday and asked if they could make me the cord I needed to fix the machine and they weren't too eager to help out.  Seems that when they need a curtain sewn, or bumpers made for their robot, it needs to be done today, but if the situation is turned around, three weeks from now seems reasonable.  So, I asked on my quilting machine Yahoo group and they pointed me to a place online where I could buy the cable I need and now I wait patiently, or not so much for the part to come in the mail.  In the meantime, I will take a walk.
 We have this open field, which won't last much longer as they are building houses on it now, next to my house.  There are cows grazing and it makes for a really nice way to get out of the city and away from the hustle and bustle and slow down for a minute.  My daughter brought her little dog with her and he was having the best time smelling everything.  He ran out of pee about half way through the walk, but that didn't stop him from lifting his leg on every tuft of grass.  My younger dog has learned to stop at every puddle and refill her pee reserve to make it all the way through the walk.  She's a funny one as my daughter's dog would follow her around, sniffing everything she sniffed and making sure he didn't miss anything she had discovered.  It seemed like she would try to trick him into looking at something so she could go the other way to find the 'real' good smells and he would miss something.
It was a gorgeous afternoon and nice time to get out and enjoy the sunshine.  The beautiful green grass this time of year is so welcome.  I know many of you are having beautiful white snow, which would be fun too, but I'm happy not to have to shovel that stuff.  I'll take a bit of rain now and then and have to pay the higher prices here in Northern California for everything from gas to groceries to not have to deal with slipping and sliding around when I drive.  Snow days off of school would be nice though.  Looks like today will be another nice day and once everyone wakes up, maybe I can get them all outside to enjoy the day.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Broken Machine

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Ah, the troubles with my machine come in batches.  I ordered new tracks a little while back and yesterday finally got around to switching them out.  First, they sent me the wrong ones so I had to wait for the new ones.  Then the company said the long tracks would still work on my machine.  I should have asked them to send new long tracks too because the long ones are only 8 feet and my machine is a 10 foot frame.  I'm sure they just put the label on the wrong box.  Whoever got my box was probably just as upset with the wrong tracks.  You would think they would have called me back letting me know that they messed up.  Now I have to wait again to get the right tracks.

While changing out the tracks, I had to move the very heavy machine and pulled out one of the wires on the encoder that reads where the wheels are on the robot.  My son should be able to fix it today when he gets back from his robotics meeting.  Fingers crossed because I've searched online to purchase a new wire and can't find any source.  I don't know what I'm going to do when he goes off to college.  I also don't know what people do that don't have a smart son like me

Until he fixes it, I'm out of quilting commission.  I was hoping to have time to catch up.  I'm way behind if I plan to make my goal.  I have plenty of quilts but I'm not sure if I can catch up.  I sure hope so.

A Great Birthday

 Yesterday was a great day.  I turned 25 again and got to spend the day with my kids.  All of them!  what could be better?  I taught my older daughter to knit and she picked it up really quickly.  She already knows how to crochet and made the beautiful scarf she is wearing in the picture above.  I worked on an afghan for my younger daughter.  She makes me laugh with her request for a 'really big afghan that will cover her head to toe that can be folded up to make a pillow' that she can use in her dorm room.  She already has about 6 quilts at college, but really needs an afghan too. Oh, and can I have it done by the time she goes back to college next week?  Thanks!  Looks like I will be busy.

We went to our local Christmas lights area, Candy Cane Lane, and this was the first year the weather was nice enough to walk the route.  I've always wanted to get my picture at this house with the really cute display of elves helping Santa on the roof.  I keep asking my son to make me one just like it and he keeps saying how easy it would be, but I've yet to have one at my house!  One day maybe....
We went out to dinner at Outback and I had the best steak and baked potatoe.  Perfectly seasoned and tender.  My husband called (he's got a really bad cold) to say there were some visitors who had come by while we were out. They would be back when I got home.

Sure enough, when I got home, they came back with this.  Three former students...all guys...that I taught 5 years ago, came by to bring me this cake they baked.  I love it for so many reasons!  The almond joy candy bars, they remembered are my favorite, the fact they ran out of the tiny sprinkles and used the bigger ones to finish my name, the fact they got my age wrong!  When my son told them my age was off by 2 years, they said, oh, you are only 21, we forgot!  Too cute.

I still can't believe these former students took the time to bake me a cake and come over to deliver it.  Somehow I made a difference in their lives and they took time to say thanks. :)

Saturday, December 20, 2014

My girls

 So good to have them both home for Christmas~!

My girls are home and school has ended

These last three days have been insane!  No time to quilt, no time to think, no time to post!

My girls got home on Thursday, one came from St. Louis and the other from Los Angeles, both flying into Sacramento a couple of hours apart.  This week was finals week and I got finished with school early, but that didn't mean I was finished working early.

I left school on Thursday early to pick them both up, but there was still lots of work to do.  Finals are both mentally and physically draining for students and teachers!  Being quiet for 4 hours is the hardest thing ever, especially for me.  I don't like not knowing what's going on in the heads of teenagers.  If they are quiet, they are up to trouble.

We rewrote the final exam for Biology this year (not my idea) and there were 15 questions that were just terrible.  They either had no right answer or two right answers or the question was so confusing that the kids couldn't answer it because they had no idea what it was asking.  I had written the last final exam by myself about 5 years ago, so had no interest in writing this one and pretty much stayed out of the whole process.  I do a lot around there, setting up and cleaning up most of the labs that everyone else does and another teacher who thought he could make the final exam better took the lead.  Well, he ran out of time and after I stepped in to help, he decided he didn't like the questions I came up with, so changed them and those were the ones that were really bad.  So, we ended up throwing out those 15 questions and curving the final in the end after some heated discussions.  It's just really draining to have to argue your point, even if you win in the end.

I had to scoot out of there yesterday to pick up my youngest from school, so have to get back there to clean up my mess some time over break.  I'm thinking of going today because I also left some papers that I need to grade.  Too many things to do and not enough time to get them all done.  Story of my life.

But, now the fun begins!

This morning, I'm hiding out, eating cake and cookies that were given to me by a student, for breakfast so I don't wake up sleeping people because when children left home, beds were put up and now there are people sleeping on the couch.  Oh, the sacrifices I make for my family. :)  Truly a mother's love!  At least the cookies had oatmeal and the cake had pumpkin in it.  I got a couple of important nutrients.

Hopefully there will be quilt pictures coming soon, and for sure some family pictures too.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Drug Tested

So I got a phone call from my doctor's office on Thursday telling me I had to go in to get a urine test before she would refill my pain med (Acetaminophen and codeine) that I take for my migraines.  I refill it about every 6 weeks and haven't ever had to do something like that before but I do have to go in to get blood tests for a couple of the other medicines I take so figured that since she is a new doctor maybe she had some new test she wanted to run.  Silly me.  She was drug testing me!

Well, I didn't get the results back, so I started to get a little suspicions and sent her an email on Saturday to my doctor asking what the urine test was about.  I finally heard back from her today that yes, indeed it was a drug test.

She blamed it on new regulations for all patients with chronic pain that they have to get tested once a year and come see the doctor every six months.  Well, she doesn't check her calendar because I just saw her four months ago.  I was so furious that she tricked me into getting a drug test that I wrote her back asking what she was expecting to find in the drug test and how often I was supposed to get a refill on the pain meds.  The doctors don't offer anything else for the pain for migraines and I've been to every specialist they have at Kaiser.  Here this new lady who is younger than I am is thinking she knows more about my migraines and thinks that I'm abusing my pain medicines?

Well, she writes back a rather not so nice email and that was it!  I changed doctors tonight!

With a degree in science, I do happen to know a thing or two about my own health and don't need a rude doctor giving me a lecture about abusing pain medication.  Of course, by changing doctors, now I have to go in to have an appointment with the new doctor, but at least she looks nice from her picture on the website.

I actually felt quite relieved after sending my email saying I didn't appreciate being tricked into taking a drug test and that I didn't trust the doctor and that I had changed to a new doctor.

The funny thing is, the regular doctor doesn't even deal with my migraines.  I see a neurologist and a nurse practitioner at the headache clinic who regulate the migraine medicine medicines and they tell me what to take and how often.  For some reason, this doctor decided it was her job to take over and tell me what to do.  Sorry lady, you just got fired. :)

I need a vacation!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Getting more done

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During my marathon grading session, I was able to get this quilt done as well.  It's amazing what you can accomplish 5 minutes at a time.  I downloaded a stopwatch app to my ipod and would grade 3 lab books and then take a break to roll the quilt on the frame.  I would time myself to see how long everything took.  While it encouraged me to work faster, it was also a bit depressing to watch my life tick away on that little timer next to me.

My little dog had to get in on the picture here.  She's pretty funny!

Prolific piecer

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My adopted daughter, Jenny, is becoming quite the prolific piecer.  She is cranking out these quilt tops like crazy.  She plans to give them all away as Christmas gifts, which means I have to get busy quilting them all up.  There are two more waiting for me and I'm sure she has more in the works.  I used a really cute butterfly pattern on this one and quilted it yesterday while grading lab books.

I totally know it is my fault, but I spent 22 hours this weekend grading.  In the end, I felt totally crazy!  Even with all the extra help this year, I let these lab books pile up and had 4 labs in every book and 5 in the honors ones.  Each book took about 10 minutes to grade, and when you have 90 of them, it adds up.  It was nice to take a break every 3 books and go roll the quilt.  I don't know what I would have done if I had to grade non stop!  But it sure made the weekend go quickly.

This is finals week and then vacation!

My girls come home on Thursday.  :)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

so far behind

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I haven't had a chance to quilt anything for several days and I am behind in my goal of one quilt a day.  Hopefully when school is out on Friday, I will have time to catch up.  Today is another LONG day of lab book grading.  I didn't quite get through half the books yesterday after 12 hours of grading.  Shame on me for procrastinating for so long.  I had 4 labs in my regular kids' books and 5 in my honors books.  The trouble is, we have labs back to back this time of year and there isn't time in between to drag the boxes of books home to grade them.  That's my excuse anyways.  But, this weekend I'm really feeling the pain of the procrastinating and surely wishing I had brought them home at least once.  Or had my TA's grade part of them.

I got in new rails for my quilting machine and am wanting to change them out too because they are really pitted and make for some wobbly quilting, but that is going to have to wait too.  It will take me about an hour to change them out and that's an hour I just don't have today.  Once these books are done, I will be free again!

Yesterday I did manage to get this quilt done while taking short breaks from the books.  Every row, I would get up and reset the machine and then race myself to see how much grading I could get done before having to get up and move the machine again.  

Of course, the Christmas cookies that the Special Ed aids made for all the teachers surely helped with the grading too.  Every year, they have a cookie exchange and give us all a bunch of cookies.  My husband doesn't eat his so I get extras.  I ate about 6 of them yesterday and the extra sugar helped me keep going on my marathon grading session.

That's all my husband does every weekend and every vacation.  Grade papers.  All day, every day.  He teaches 3 AP (advanced placement) classes and has 40 students in each class.  He's constantly grading papers.  I think I would go crazy if that was my life.  So, I guess I shouldn't complain as much as I am now.

At least most of the time I get my grading done at school, or have my TA's get most of it done. :)  My fellow teachers think I'm crazy to have 3 TA's (plus my former student who comes back 2 days a week to help me) but I know what I'm doing.  I need my quilting time!

This quilt was made by our new special ed teacher who teaches our Emotionally Disturbed class.  She is giving it to a charity, I think as a fundraiser for breast cancer, but I may be wrong.  It may be going to someone who has breast cancer.  It was given to me by my friend Sandy who does a lot of bindings for our Binky Patrol group and she asked if I could quilt it quickly for her.  

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Lab book kind of day

Finals are next week and I have three classes of lab books to grade this weekend.  After procrastinating this morning, I'm finally buckling down and grading.  I'm trying to multitask by grading and cleaning and quilting.  The books are driving me a bit crazy, so I'm happy for the distraction.  I've cleaned the air filter for the heater, which needed it badly and I've put off for far too long, so that's a good thing and I shampooed the carpet where the old dog had an accident last night.  You know I must be desperate to look for chores like that to do!  12 books graded, 78 more to go.  It's going to be a long weekend!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Stockings for Veterans

The National Honor Society Kids helped make Christmas Stockings for our local Veterans and wounded soldiers who come through Travis Air Force Base during the holiday season.  Today some other volunteers helped stuff those stockings with candy, granola bars, chapstick, and gloves.  They will be passed out over the next couple of weeks.  I love being able to say Thanks to Veterans for their service.

Storm of the Year

Yesterday we had what was billed to be the "Storm of the Year" by all the weathermen on every TV station, including the National News.  People were out buying bottled water, generators, toilet paper and flashlights.  It sounded like we were in for some really bad weather.

I live in Northern California.  We have had a drought for a few years so I guess people forgot what rain looks like.

Instead of the killer storm, we got some rain and a little bit of wind.  Nothing major.  Seriously, I'm happy about that, but what was annoying was I had 3-6 kids in every class absent because someone made it look like there was a message from the district saying that school was closed and all the kids showed their parents.  The parents who didn't bother to check the actual website, but trusted their kid, kept the kids home.  I had to make the choice, with finals being next week, to change my lesson plan that instead of teaching new material that I would have to reteach to 30 kids to do something those 30 kids could do on their own this weekend.  Sometimes parents don't realize that when they make a decision like letting a kid say home because it is raining, it has a domino effect, not only on their child's grade, but on all the teachers who will have to spend time reteaching the material.  Never a dull moment in the teaching profession!

So glad the storm wasn't anywhere near predicted.  I know some areas got it much worse with some flooding and mudslides.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

so nice to have a large stash

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There's a special student at my school who is in foster care.  She recently found out she is pregnant and her foster family kicked her out.  I can't even imagine how she is feeling.  I had some quilts on my desk at school and her science teacher asked her to pick one.  She chose a little one.  I told her that she could have that for the baby and I would make one just for her.  I asked what her favorite color was and she chose purple.  

Having a large stash of quilt tops ready for quilting is so nice.  Sometimes I feel bad that there are so many waiting their turn to be quilted, but when a situation like this comes up, it's nice to be able to reach in the cupboard and pull something I think will be perfect.  This quilt looks more green in the picture, but the purples really pop in person.  I will get bound and given this week.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

2nd body pillow

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Ok an even worse job of hiding the pile of clean laundry waiting to be folded.  You would think I could find an empty spot on the couch, but no.   I was going for the dramatic effect.  The juxtaposition of beauty and reality.  Peace and stress.  Daily life vs. escape from chores.  Who am I kidding.  The camera was there and I just threw the quilt over the pile, hoping to hide it.  Normally, the quilt is bigger :)

Here's the second body pillow my friend made.  I believe this is a disappearing 9 patch pattern.  Again I used the fleece instead of batting and just a white muslin backing and switched to a Signature thread and had no troubles with the thread pulling down into the quilt.  

Monday, December 8, 2014

quilted body pillow

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I have to laugh at myself.  Most bloggers stage such lovely quilt pictures.  I lay them on top of the pile of clean clothes waiting to be folded.  I don't even do a great job of hiding the fact the the quilt is on top of the pile of clean clothes.  I mean, you can clearly see the black sock here!  Keeping life real people. :)

My friend brought over two body pillows she wanted quilted.  She brought fleece to be used as the batting and asked if I thought that would be a problem.  I wasn't sure, but said I would give it a try.  I am sure it will shrink differently than the cotton top and backing fabric, but I'm not sure the body pillow will get washed much, so I'm not sure it's going to really matter much.  The machine didn't have a problem with quilting it.

I used the same blue thread on this quilt as on the one that kept breaking every 6 inches and although it didn't break as much, it did keep getting sucked down underneath a couple of times.  I didn't notice it until I pulled the quilt off the frame.  It's a good thing this quilt will be a pillow so you will never see the back because it's a blue top thread and a white backing.  You can see the blue thread on the back a couple times.  I'm not sure why the machine doesn't like this blue thread.  It's So Fine, which my machine usually loves.  I guess you can get a bad spool of thread sometimes.  I will give it one more try on one more quilt and then call it bad thread and see if Carla wants to try it on her machine.  I hate to throw away a $10 spool of thread.  This one was donated by someone who has me quilting lots of Quilts of Valor, but still, someone paid good money for great thread and it just is having troubles.

Anyways, it's a nice quilt. :)

Sunday, December 7, 2014

a great boy quilt

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Now isn't this a cute boy quilt?  My friend at school Sandy, who puts a lot of bindings on our quilts made this one for a different charity group.  It's really a simple quilt made from 2 1/2 inch squares and 4 1/2 inch focus fabric with a simple 1 1/2 inch inner border and 3 1/2 inch outer border.  Perfect for a new baby boy.  I quilted it with dump trucks.  For some reason, my machine jumped the track and I had to rip out a half row of stitching.  That's always a fun thing to do!  But, after that little hiccup, I was back in business and the quilt finished quickly.  Some new mother will be the lucky recipient of this gorgeous quilt!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

99% of the time

21 of 45 for the remainder of 2014

Yes, 2014 is speeding by at record pace, but this week has crept along at a snails pace.  I didn't get much quilting in.  In fact, this quilt was done last Sunday!  A friend at work made it for another charity group and she asked me to quilt it for her a couple of weeks ago.  I did a second one for her today and the reason it has taken me so long to get to it is because I had a quilt on the frame that slowed everything down.  I was just giving me fits.  My machine did not like that quilt at all.  In fact, I actually gave up quilting it!  That's the first quilt I've ever in my entire quilting career given up on.  I did almost two rows of quilting on it and the thread broke about 2,457 times.  I changed out the needle, loosened and tightened the quilt sandwich, changed the thread, cleaned the machine, changed the needle placement and finally decided it was the sparkly fabric with the little bits of glitter that the thread didn't like.  There are just some fabrics that aren't good for machine quilting.  I had slowed down the speed of the machine and even at the very slowest speed, the thread would break.  

I am afraid that when the quilt goes through the wash, every one of those thread breaks will loosen up and the whole thing will fall apart.  It is too bad because the quilt is gorgeous.  I'm going to tear out the quilting (gently of course) and try a different quilt design.  The design that is in there now is a snowflake one that gave me some problems on another quilt.  It has a lot of sharp starts and stops and I had a few thread breaks on the last quilt without the sparkly fabric.  I think the combination of sparkles and sharp turns is just too much.

99% of the time, quilting is an enjoyable hobby.  When I come across problems like this, it just isn't much fun.  Spending 4 hours on a quilt, only to have to spend another 4 hours ripping stitches out, makes for a not so fun time.

Today, I'm feeling pretty miserable with a horrible migraine.  I'm supposed to be grading lab books.  I brought home 2 boxes of them and it took me all week to get one box done.  I have two labs in each book and another three books still at school.  Even with all the help from my TA's and former student, I'm drowning in all the extra work right now.  I just didn't need to feel yucky today.  Of course, sitting on the computer procrastinating isn't helping anything either :)

Here's hoping your day is going better!

Accuquilt Tumbler Die winner

Congratulations to the winner of the Accuquilt Tumbler Die contest I had.  There were 4 entries, my son used and it picked #3 which was
Marjorie's Busy Corner said...
I would choose the 4.5 inch die....would be great for smaller quilts, thank you

Friday, December 5, 2014

beautiful music quilt

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My friend Christine made this beautiful music quilt for the Community concert band fundraiser.  Even my husband loves this one and commented how our son would really like a quilt like this.  I think it is really funny how he has really taken an interest in the quilts that are on the machine lately.  He's even 'liking' them on my facebook page.  This one will go up for silent auction on December 9, the date of the next concert.

I have a second quilt I'm working on with a snowflake music theme that she also did a great job on.  We are teaming up on the next round of quilts as well.  I purchased 12 yards of music themed fabric and she has agreed to make a quilt or two out of it.  Then, I will quilt them up and give them back to her for binding.  It's nice to have friends who share your interests and who can tag team with you.  It's also cool that my son likes hanging out with 'older' people and doesn't mind being the go between to pass these quilts back and forth for us.  He's a pretty cool teenager.  He likes the older people better because they don't teal with all the drama and stupid stuff kids his age are into.  He's so ready to graduate and get on to college.  I hope he isn't disappointed to find that college kids aren't quite grown up yet.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Accuquilt Tumbler Die giveaway

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You've seen so many of these tumbler quilts, I hope I've inspired you to want to make one for yourself or maybe as a gift this Christmas, or maybe to give to a child in the hospital, or a Veteran to say Thanks for your Service!

How about a Giveaway?

You know how much I love Accuquilt and their products and how much I love the tumbler die.  If you own and Accuquilt Go! and don't already have all three of the Tumbler dies, you really need them.  They come in 3 1/2 inch, 6 1/2 inch and 4 1/2 inch sizes and are a great way of busting those scraps that seem to appear out of nowhere.  Now, I own the Go! and the Studio and of course, the Studio cranks through the scraps much faster than the Go! but most people aren't as crazy as I am, so for the non insane quilter, the Go! is the perfect size and will give you many years of service for quilt making.  If you don't know about these great Accuquilt products, head over to the Accuquilt website and check them out.  They have videos there you can watch to see them in action and lots of ideas for making things besides quilts if you are into that kind of stuff :)

I'd like to pay it forward and give away one of the three dies to someone who would like to make a tumbler quilt and who either has the Go! or who plans to get the Go! soon.  The dies don't work by themselves, so getting one of the dies and not having the machine, really won't do you any good. :)

To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment.  Tell me which die you would you would like and who you plan to make the quilt for.  Make sure I have a way of getting in touch with you.  Sometimes people don't realize they are no reply commenters and then wonder why they never win anything.  If you aren't sure, just leave your email in your reply.  I will pick a winner on Saturday, December 6 at noon and ask for your mailing address then.

One entry per person please.  Good luck.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

streak of lightening quilt

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Here's another quilt made by Jenny that's a rail fence pattern which makes a streak of lightening design.  Super easy to make, just cut 2 1/2 inch strips and 6 1/2 inch blocks.  Sew the strips together with the same orientation for each block.  Then lay them out so you have the pattern you want, here she chose the white as the streak of lightening, or zig zag across the quilt.  It goes together really quickly because of the 6 1/2 inch blocks and those can be fun prints like these butterflies or a solid block or anything you like.  This quilt is really fun for a baby shower and super quick to make.  You need 4 colors or you can make it scrappy.  We make a lot of scrappy quilts in our group and it's nice to have quilts that look great no matter what you use.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

An easy and beautiful quilt

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This quilt was made by my adopted daughter Jenny.  She's become quite the prolific quilter as of late.  Once she found out how easy it was to sew straight lines, she really took off.  Her mom (I didn't really adopt her, she just practically lived at my house all through high school and college so I call her my adopted daughter and tell the kids at school she's mine) made all of her dresses for piano recitals and her sister's dance costumes.  She is an amazing pianist and her sister is an amazing dancer.

This quilt is super easy to make, but really looks great.  The pieces are cut at 4 1/2 inches by 8 1/2 inches and then just sewn into blocks.  You can use as many different prints as you want and is a great scrap buster.  Of course, Jenny has a great eye for color and picked out 5 colors for this quilt.  She was going to make a Take 5 quilt at first and then decided to do something different.  This is another Christmas gift she's finishing up.  I have one more I'm working on for her.  I love being able to quilt things for other people without the stress of having a deadline.

Today is a rainy day and I'm switching between grading papers (yes, I procrastinated all week-it's Saturday) and quilting and eating leftovers.

My son tore his room apart last night and in the move his desk broke.  He has plans for me to go out and get him a new desk.  I'm only going out if it stops raining.  Kids don't plan for things like rain and buying big, bulky things like a desk.  He knew if he tried to move his old desk it was literally going to fall apart, but he just had to move everything around in his room.  He likes to change things up and when he decided to clean his room, he really wanted it clean.  I just thought taking all the trash out would have been good enough, but what do I know?

Monday, December 1, 2014

Start December off with Christmas

16 of 45 quilts for the remainder of 2014

Can you believe December is already here?  Let's start off the month with a Christmas Quilt shall we?  Once again, this is a Nancy Quilt.  But, I bet you could tell that because it's a cute Tumbler quilt, made of course with the Accuquilt Studio fabric cutter.  If you can't tell, I love my Accuquilt Studio.  If you make lots of quilts for charity, you NEED a Studio cutter.  If you have a Studio cutter, you NEED one or more of the tumbler dies.  I now own all of them.  They come in 3 1/2, 4 1/2, 6 1/2 and 9 1/2 inch sizes.  I recently got the 4 1/2 inch size blocks.  These are the BEST blocks for using up scraps.  You can mix and match them or make them themed.  I tell you my friend Nancy is the best at putting these quilts together.  She can make them themed or just kitchen sink them and throw everything together and they come out great.  Right now, she has the second Studio cutter and is cutting up scraps like crazy.  I never know what she is going to give me.  Some of the quilt tops are little bitty ones and some are queen size.  Every one is perfect because kids come in all sizes and every quilt we make finds a perfect home.

Her grandkids even get in on the act and help her sort and cut the fabric and match up the quilts.  Her grand daughter even helps sew the quilt tops.  She saves every little bit of fabric that can possibly be used and cuts it into these little tumblers and even uses the half pieces for the edges.  I just love her to bits. :)

Sunday, November 30, 2014

It started with over 300

15 of 45 quilts for the remainder of 2014 (1/3 the way there!)

3 years ago, Carla cut out over 300 of these Super Size 9 patch kits and gave them to the middle school home ec teacher to have her kids sew together.  Those kids are now in 11th grade.  They sewed them all together in about 3 months and gave them back to us.  Wow, we thought this was such a great idea, until we realized that we had to quilt them all and then get someone to put the binding on them.  Yeah, who came up with this great idea?

I think I have about 5 of them left.  I keep finding them here and there as I think I have the last one on the machine, I find another one in a pile somewhere.  Just watch, when I think I have the last one done, I will find a box of them in the garage, or at school, or in my car.  The just never end!  But, I love them because every single one of them has a hand embroidered heart on it.  How special is that?

While they aren't the fanciest of quilts, they show that every person can make a difference in the life of another person in a special way and you may not realize just how you are doing that.  Those kids three years ago learned how to sew these quilts together.  They aren't fancy and they aren't perfect.  I can't tell you how many I had to fix as I was quilting them, but each one has made me smile when I see that hand embroidered heart.  My life has been forever changed through this project and I know that over 300 people have been affected because of the quilts that the kids made.  I bring these in to school to pass on to one of the many people who put the binding on them and sometimes the kids will see them.  They are surprised that the quilts are still around and remember working on them.  They like to see that their efforts are still being given away and remember sewing the quilt tops together.

I hope that one day in the future, they will pull out a sewing machine and join up with others to help out again.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

can you tell?

I got a little carried away last night with the scissors on my hair and started cutting and cutting and ended up cutting about 2 inches off the end.  This is the shortest it's been in about 10 years :)  Not sure anybody but me will notice.  I have really curly hair and I've been cutting my own hair for about 15 years.  When it starts to bother me, I just grab the scissors and hack at the bottom of it.  I know, bad me, but I can't see spending money on my hair when I can just take a pair of scissors and give myself a trim.  The ends don't have to be perfectly even because it curls up anyways and nobody can tell that I cut it crookedly.  Well, last night, I cut and slipped and there was a big chunk out of the left side, so I had to match the right side to it and then that was shorter, so back to the left.  When it dried, it went up about 4 inches shorter than it had begun.  Oh, well, it's only hair and will grow back.  The last time I got it professionally cut, it cost me over $100 because they colored it too and I looked like a clown.  They didn't know what they were doing with naturally curly hair and cut it too short and it shrunk up twice as short as they cut it and I had a giant poof ball on my head.  It was horrible.  I'm sure there is someone out there that's dealt with naturally curly hair like mine, but my hair is so weird that not many people have experience with my kind of hair.  Most of them want to experiment on it and 'see what it does when we try this' and then charge me $30.  You know how much fabric you can buy for $30?  Not much, but it's more than not buying fabric :)  So, I will just keep chopping at it until I get too old for long hair.